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Chargers Training Camp Preview: Safeties 

The Los Angeles Chargers hold Mandatory Mini-Camp on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 at Hoag Performance Center in Costa Mesa, CA.
The Los Angeles Chargers hold Mandatory Mini-Camp on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 at Hoag Performance Center in Costa Mesa, CA.

Chargers Training Camp is on the horizon, as the Bolts will soon return to work to get ready for the 2022 season. The Chargers will host 10 open practices as they welcome fans back to Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa.

What's in store for the Bolts in camp? Expectations are high, as second-year Head Coach Brandon Staley leads a roster focused on physicality that added numerous new faces this offseason. will take a glance at each position group leading up to training camp, continuing with the safeties. 

Who's on the roster?

Derwin James, Jr. (5th year in NFL; 5th year with Chargers), Nasir Adderley (4; 4), Mark Webb, Jr. (2; 2), Alohi Gilman (3; 3), JT Woods (1; 1), Ben DeLuca (2; 2), Ja'Sir Taylor (1; 1), Deane Leonard (1; 1), Skyler Thomas (1; 1) and Raheem Layne (1; 1).

Camp outlook

James is the bonafide star of this group, a team leader and one of the best safeties in the league. He creates mismatches all over the field and his versatility is a key part of the Bolts' defensive scheme.

James didn't practice in team drills this spring after offseason surgery, but will likely be ready for camp next week.

Adderley impressed many this spring, and could be ready to take his game to another level in 2022. Gilman and Webb highlight the increased depth in the secondary, as both could provide insurance for this group in case of injuries.

Then there's Woods, a recent draft pick who has plenty of potential. He had five interceptions in college last season and has a nose for the ball. 

The rest of the group features a mix of players who will be in a tight battle to make the roster. 

DeLuca played in three games for the Bolts in 2021, mostly on special teams. 

Taylor (sixth-round) and Leonard (seventh-round) were 2022 draft picks who could develop in time. Thomas and Layne were added as undrafted free agents this spring. 

Overall, this group is filled with star power at the top in James, while players such as Adderley and Woods appear to be on the rise. And with plenty of competition throughout, this group could be among the deepest on the Bolts entire roster.

Take a look at some of the best shots of Derwin James' 2022 offseason

Quick quote

"I think that Nasir Adderley has had, I would say, the same impact on defense. Derwin didn't go full speed in the 7-on-7, but I think Nas really showed up. He was our most productive guy in the spring in the secondary."

— Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley on Adderley's strong spring.

One big question… How big of a role can J.T. Woods carve out?

The Chargers drafted Woods in the third round in this spring's draft, and I am fascinated to see how Brandon Staley and defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill use the former Baylor standout in their scheme. Woods has excellent ball skills — he led the nation in interceptions as a senior last year — and really thrives in the deep part of the field because of his speed, length and range. Initially, Woods should serve as the second deep-field safety next to Nasir Adderley when the Chargers go to their big nickel package, in which Derwin James plays in the slot. It makes a ton of sense to at least initially start Woods in that role, because he will not have to play significant snaps early in his career, and he can operate where he is most comfortable — in the deep third. But if Woods has a really strong training camp, I would not be surprised if he pushes for an even bigger role. A big priority for the Chargers this offseason was creating competition throughout the secondary, and Adderley will certainly have to earn his starting job in camp. — (By The Athletic's Daniel Popper).

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